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Jewel Day by Day Photo Review 11/16/2013 (Southern Caribbean)

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A birthday "Jewel" of a different sort

 

Sometimes you hear that a diamonds are a girls best friend, but that doesn't explain why I spent years offering to pawn a 10th anniversary diamond in order to make another trip fit into the budget. It's not that DH was insensitive to my wants at the time; its just that we had a new baby and couldn't travel near our 10th anniversary. Luckily, we didn't need to pawn anything to cruise Jewel to celebrate our "big birthdays ending in a zero". DH and I are 29 days apart and we won't discuss who is older. Even though as childhood sweeties I spent most of my teens and 20's gloating about being older; DH is too much of a gentleman to do the same when we hit 30, and then 40 and then...well...he's just better man than me and a very good husband indeed!

 

So smack between our two birthdays we decided to sail Jewel of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean. We were very excited about this cruise since we first read the review by Bionicman97 on Jewel a couple of years ago.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1403828

 

His photos of the beautiful southern Caribbean islands were inspiring. We loved the idea of such a port intensive cruise and we were excited to return to sailing from San Juan, which we hadn't done in almost 20 years. Of course, things have changed since then and it was CKRobyn's wonderful thread about Adventure and the one she started about sailing from San Juan that really helped us with our planning.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=691783

 

Thanks to Robyn and everyone who participated in those threads, I found them enormously helpful in planning. We actually cruised Jewel about 2 years ago (review linked in my signature), a 5 day from Tampa and while I loved the ship, especially the aft balcony we upgraded to after a price drop, I felt at the time Jewel was best suited for a port intensive cruise like the ones offered in SJ. So as soon as the Caribbean winter cruises came out I booked Jewel Nov 16, 2013, and was able to book the corner aft 8168.

 

 

 

Generally, when I review a cruise I like to go through the trip day by day, because those are the reviews I enjoy most (like virtual cruising!) it will take the better part of a week or more to get all the installments up. I like to respond to questions and hear from other folks experiences with similar or the same experiences. I should also warn you that my review will contain:

 

Lots of details:

People forget details, and by people, I mean me, and so I take lots of notes. Otherwise my reviews would sound like this:

We went on this really cool kayaking trip, it was on this big bay about an hour away, and cost like around $100, or maybe just $80. We had this great guide, be sure to ask for him, I forgot his name but it started with J and he has glasses.

I can't plan with advice like that! That kind of review helps absolutely no one! Hence, I include a lot of details and photos of ephemera, because that's what I use when reading reviews to plan my own cruises. I will post the Compasses for each day; they are helpful for planning, but I found for this cruise and ship they changed more than any other. I had a set from May Jewel Southern Caribbean cruise and the biggest difference was that the set I downloaded from CC had both a 5:30 and 8 PM Muster Drill (actually only the 8 PM Muster Drill is held now) and some shows that appeared to offer both and early and late show were changed to just one offering per night, usually at 7:45 PM between traditional seatings.

 

(This is me taking notes for my review: I use reading glasses because I'm not in my mid to late 40's)

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Lots of big photos:

MY DH loves photography, its part of the fun of the cruise for him to take photographs, and I like to include as many of them as I can, since I love reviews that include lots of great photos! I can't bear when I can't make out the details in teeny weeny thumbnails, so I like to post big ones! I have no advice except I hope you have good internet speed. DH doesn't enjoy taking photos of food at dinner, so you won't see many of those in my reviews, and more importantly, with every ship using the same menus, really any review with food porn will look the same as anything we ate.

 

For those interested here is the equipment used:

Nikon D800 w/16-35 f/4 & 70-200 f/4 lenses – Used on board the ship, shooting islands from the ship, in San Juan and Dominica

Nikon 1 AW1 w/11-27 lenses – Used on Tortola and St Kitts as well as on all water excursions and some on Dominica

Nikon AW110 – Used only on Orient Beach

 

 

I apologize in advance for any bad photos, they are mine (Iphone 5). The ones you like; my husband took. Very occasionally I make him let me use a photo he took that falls below his lofty standards because its the only image that tells my story; even if it pains him for it to see the light of day. Lets just pretend these are also photos I took. It makes him feel better about it! So good photos- DH, bad photos- me... That's it in a nut shell.

 

 

Lots of attempts at humor:

Much of it bad, but none will be mean spirited or politically incorrect, and most times the butt of the joke is myself. If anything I say is offensive, it's not intended and I apologize in advance!

 

Lots of my own opinions:

Even when they are wrong (or maybe the reader would just have a different one, and that's OK!) DH and I are no longer in our mid late forties (which is how I intend to refer to my age forever more) We cruise once or twice a year, and take many other trips; both cruising and on land, but somehow we have managed to be on the planet long enough to become "diamond" members with RCL's Crown and Anchor Society. I'm still a little surprised that this group includes me now, aside from getting $10 bucks off my laundry and nice balcony discount, it just makes me feel old! I only put the spinning diamond on my signature because someone on our Roll Call asked me how to do it and so I did it so I could write instructions about it for her. But there it is...we've done this for a while and over the years we've got some advice to pass along, and I've learned I love to do that!! It's one of the reasons I prefer to sail with a good mix of new and "more experienced" cruisers...I adore meeting people who are still marveling about cruising and embracing the kitsch! I like cruising with more experienced cruisers and sharing travel tales, learning about ports and cruises I haven't had a chance to try yet (in my language these are just called "future trips") I'll be critical where I feel something could be improved, but I have low tolerance for complaining constantly because I feel blessed to travel and I can't help but feel joy and gratitude when I get to take any trip and experience something new! (Amen, and pass the hat;-)

 

So lets start cruising (virtually!)

 

Our Itinerary:

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For those of you who don't speak "obscure ports" that's BVI, St Marteen, St Kitts, Dominica and Barbados!

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Boston to SJ

 

Before you can leave, you have to pack...for me that involves about 6 weeks of planning and 3 separate spreadsheets (really- one for "day", one for "night" and a list of everything else including shoes and accessories). You would think this means I bring a lot of stuff, but in reality, I bring very little stuff. The time I take is because I am carefully accessorizing and editing every single outfit so that the bare minimum of what needs to be packed gets packed.

 

By the time we leave I have a schedule of what I plan to wear each day (or part of day; DH refers to these as "costume changes") You would think that by having a daily schedule of what to wear that I care deeply about fashion and clothing and how I look (and you would be wrong...just look at the photos to come!) I make a schedule so that I don't have to think again about what to wear and I don't have to carry a thing I won't wear...this frees me to enjoy every minute of my vacation doing what I DO enjoy (which is not trying on shoes!)

 

For this trip, we actually allowed ourselves more luggage than usual; a roller carry on each, a rolling suitcase and rolling garment bag. Because DH can fly bags free on AA and got "priority" handling (critical in Boston, where bags come out sloooowly), and we know a cruise is a trip where you only move your luggage twice, we splurged, but as always when we have too many pieces of luggage, I regretted it! I am always happier with less "stuff" to travel with.

 

DH also had to pack...he does this about 2 days before we leave. This freaks me out, but for him, his biggest decision is WHICH Boston Championship hat to wear;)

 

(Here he is in his obvious choice Red Sox 2013)

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Getting into the air over Boston, I saw the Customs House, Rowes wharf, the Pru and the Hancock and felt a little catch in my throat when I realized the last time I had seen Boston from the air was on our return from our Allure (4/16/2013) cruise during the week of the Marathon bombings. Being so far away during that emotional week had made me to cry when we returned to Logan. I was feeling blessed that none of our loved ones were hurt, but heartbroken about what had happened in my own city and unsure what we were returning too.

 

While I'm not FROM Boston, we are very parochial in MA with every neighborhood and suburb having it's own government and identity and yet, we are all FROM Boston...it's a thing, if you are not from here you may not get it. And I would add that it sometimes extends well beyond MA in many cases...it might have something to do with our regional sports teams, a strong regional identity despite the fact that there may be 40 separately named cities and towns in the same square mileage that would be called "Atlanta" or "St Louis" anywhere else, I don't know why, but "it is what is is"!

 

After collecting myself, it was an uneventful flight.

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Boston to San Juan

 

We connected in Miami, and arrived in San Juan in a down pour.

We grabbed a taxi from the Airport to Condado area.

Taxi $17 + $1 per bag ($25 with tip)

 

 

We checked into the La Concha Marriott on Ashford Avenue.

The La Concha has a happening lobby with music and a crowd at the bar right in the lobby. The rooms themselves are quiet and restful, but the scene is really fun and youthful on the weekends!

 

We had a very friendly welcome and an upgrade to an ocean view king suit with a huge living area, and views to the ocean with a balconette. We had paid for the room with Marriott points and it had been on "sale" with fewer points needed for this room than is normally required for a property at this level. The room is off an outdoor corridor overlooking the pool courtyard area closest to Ashford Ave. There is an interior door glass door (sort of like a store front door) that is soundproofed so you don't hear the noise from outside on the pool/street side; the only noise I heard was the lovely sound of frogs (coqui, coqui) and the roil of the ocean!

 

(La Concha view from the walkway to the pool and Ashford Ave beyond)

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(room)

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(Beach)

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San Juan

We had dinner at La Perla, the onsite restaurant which looks like a large clam shell and is literally built on the beach in an infinity pool. Service was friendly and attentive. I had lobster tail with truffle potato and swiss chard and DH had the filet with garlic mashed and we shared a chocolate cake for dessert. This was the best food we had all week! It's not inexpensive, but a lovely place for a special occasion meal.

 

(La Perla)

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If you are looking for a simpler meal, there are dozens of restaurants lining Ashford Ave, all easily walkable, very safe with a young lively crowd and tourists as well as plenty of police presence.

 

The Condado area has many hotels, most on the water, but some on the other side of the Ashford, but with a walking path across the street to access the public beaches (all beaches are public!) This is a "resort" area, and can be expensive for a pre night, but it is very convenient to "pre cruise amenities" you may be looking for. Another area to stay is the Miramar area, which is near the airport and closer to the cruise port. That's a good option if you are just looking for a "bed". A third spot is Old San Juan, which is very nice if you are taking one of the ships (like Carnival) that docks right in OSJ, or if you plan to tour OSJ for the day before or after a cruise.

 

The Walgreens is good for last minute sundries and groceries, it has a good selection of plonk (2 for $10) but don't expect to find "decent" wine here to take on board. We went to "Smoke it" for a better selection of wines ($15-25) but the evening we went the help was earnest, but poorly informed. The young man there wanted to help but didn't even know the prices of the wines offered. If you know what you like and it has a price tag, this isn't a bad place to shop. There is also a humidor with Cubans and other cigars, it that's your poison.

 

(Smoke It)

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There is a Starbucks directly across from the Marriott Stellaris. There are several "chain" restaurants and many local restaurants along the Avenue, all easily accessed on foot.

 

After a wander around the neighborhood and buying our 2 bottles of wine. We reorganize our bags into check-luggage-at-the-pier-configuration, and headed to bed.

 

More to come tomorrow!!

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This is my kind of review! Details, a lot of details. Did I mention details?:D

 

Thank you for taking the time to do the review!

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This is my kind of review! Details, a lot of details. Did I mention details?:D

 

Thank you for taking the time to do the review!

 

Thanks Aldeya! I have to admit those are the ones I love best too:o But I feel pretty strongly that I have to have all my ducks in order ( photos edited and uploaded, scans etc) ready before I start, so I can post it regularly. Im pretty glad it's only taken a week to get this one started (thanks to DHs heroics processing photos over the weekend) and somehow I managed to serve 14 for Thanksgiving too. ;)

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Yey! I absolutely love your reviews so thank you for taking the time to post!

 

Do you have another cruise booked?

 

Thanks again for sharing your vacations and the planner in me gives you an extra thanks!

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I am so excited to see your review. My sister and I are cruising the Jewel in April. Which islands are on your itinerary?

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Yey! I absolutely love your reviews so thank you for taking the time to post!

 

Do you have another cruise booked?

 

Thanks again for sharing your vacations and the planner in me gives you an extra thanks!

 

Aww thanks! I actually am going on Enchantment out of Port Canaveral in Feb with DM and DD2. Ill have a review of that one for sure too. After that I've got nothing booked with Royal:eek: We are taking a river cruise through Eastern Europe (Budepest to Bucharest) in September. I have an open booking I bought on Allure last April; I'm waiting for the summer 2015 itineraries to come out to book another family cruise for DD2 s graduation. But as I told DH I feel a little naked with only 2 trips booked ;) We've got long term plans for Antarctica (2017) and potentially an Italy land trip, so other than the family cruise, I'm not sure how many more Royal cruises I have in the future! But I'm sure I will come up with an excuse to book another!;)

I am so excited to see your review. My sister and I are cruising the Jewel in April. Which islands are on your itinerary?

Yeah, you will love it! My first post has the little map, but it was a great itinerary:

Tortola, St Maarten, St Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, and we stayed an extra day and toured and did an excursion in San Juan too, so very port intensive! :D

Edited by Familygoboston

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Loving your review!!! Hope you had a chance to watch the sunset in "Perla". It is great restaurant and the view is absolutely amazing!!! Looking forward to the rest of your review. thanks for sharing your cruise with us. :):)

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Loving your review!!! Hope you had a chance to watch the sunset in "Perla". It is great restaurant and the view is absolutely amazing!!! Looking forward to the rest of your review. thanks for sharing your cruise with us. :):)

 

Drarill- it's your restaurant recommendations I posted on CKRobyn's thread with maps of where to find them. Thank you for your advice! I would have been unlikely to try Perla without your "local stamp of approval" often times hotel restaurants are among the worst, La Perla was lovely and the food was great. It was the best prepared Caribbean lobster I had ever eaten!:D

 

We didn't get to see the sunset because we didn't arrive into SJ will after 5 PM and of course it pouring! But the next day was gorgeous...and the room is so pretty!

 

We also took your advice and tried Barranchina after the cruise too. I really appreciated your advice and you'll see by the end of the review we were able to squeeze the most out of only 36 hours in PR;) We will definitely go back, by far the most interesting embarkation port for a Caribbean cruise!

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Day 1 NOV 16 Boarding Day- Known as the day Familygoboston loses it!

 

(A pano of San Juan on embarkation day)

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The next morning we awaken to glorious sun and a rollicking surf, which attracted dozens of brave surfers. This was fun to watch, so we head to Starbucks for breakfast and then stroll back via the beach to watch them riding the waves. It was hot and muggy but a perfect day for boarding the ship, until I lose it!

 

 

(Surfing at Condado after the storm)

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(the beach- the waves were crashing over this seawall after the storm)

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We head to the lobby and get a cab at 10:15 AM

($15 + $1 per bag; $20 with tip)

I need to digress here and say that we had no trouble with all our SJ cabs- everyone was polite and told us up front what it would cost when we asked. Maybe it helped that I greet folks with a hearty "Buenos Dias", or "Beunos Tardes" and go into the transaction expecting the best!:D

 

We arrive at the port by Port 10:30 PM

 

There was a bit of disorganization at the pier. Here is what we experienced. It was early, and the doors for check in were not yet open. There were about 2 dozen people already standing in a line. What the line was for was completely unknown to us. It appeared that most of the people in the line still had their large bags with them and that the line was for "baggage drop off", but this was not clear. The people immediately ahead of us had debarked from the Celebrity Summit, which was docked alongside Jewel and they were planning B2B with Jewel for the second week.

 

Because of the lack of clarity, my DH asked a representative with an RCL name tag if this was where we should wait to check bags. We have learned to ask people with name tags...they don't always know, but we figure it's our best chance. The rep came over and saw our luggage tags (which do say Diamond on them) and immediately took us to the luggage carts and had the handler load our bags onto the cart (we did tip him ; about $5 for 4 bags because even AFTER tipping on our last Allure cruise, a bag was left curbside, to be discovered by the ONLY person boarding Allure that day who, through emails on our Roll Call to share an excursion, knew my last name and saved it for us by making sure it boarded! But that is another story which is in my Allure review)

 

If it was "officially" time to load bags, we still don't know why no one else in line was unloading their bags. He then directed us to a "lane" that was labeled- suite guest, pinnacle, and D+. This was not the correct line for us, unless the general policy is to put all priority boarding people in a mislabeled line, since there was no line labeled for other C&A levels or even with general boarding information. We were not expecting any special "treatment" but we went with it (the guy was wearing a name tag for petes sake, who are we to argue)

 

It's possible that some of the people ahead of us in line might also have had priority boarding, and they were not moved, and then a couple on their second cruise (we had a nice chat with them) just followed us and no one questioned their "rights" to be in the line...it was all very disorganized and bizarre. We weren't looking to be put in a priority line, we just wanted to make sure we stood in the RIGHT one, that's why we asked the guy with a name tag.

 

But for whatever reason, at least at the pier, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the lines or the way they organize them. Not even the name tag guy could get it right. And we arrived when it was very quiet and early; I can imagine the chaos that ensues once there are a bunch of people, lines with no real understanding of what the line is for and people shouting at name tag guy about all of this.:rolleyes:

 

In the end there were 2 lines headed into the terminal building. One labeled for Suites, Pinnacle and D+ guests and another labeled "luggage drop off". Which one you get in seems like a complete crap shoot, so my advice is to get there early, ask a guy with a nametag and hope you get lucky to find one who either a) knows what he's doing or b) likes the way you look and puts you in the priority line just because. If you get there late, get in a line, any line, because no one seems to care! Even after all of this, you will be glad to know, this is not where I "lose it!" I stayed very calm...I was on vacation!

 

Right at 11 the doors opened to the terminal building, both lines were moved through security at the EXACT SAME TIME, so it simply did not matter which line you were in! And the rest of the check in was head spinning fast, friendly and well organized. There were lines for every imaginable C&A level; Gold, Platinum and Emerald, I may even have caught signs for plutonium, iron ore and hay...but don't quote me on that. All of which turned out to be completely unnecessary because there were no people in any of them! We whisked through souvenir boarding photos, then Sea Pass ID photos, up the stairs and out to the ramp, a few more checks of the shiny new sea pass and "boing"- on board by 11:15 AM!

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Time to Explore and the business of staying in touch

 

It was time to explore a bit and get some lunch. I had sailed on Jewel before early in 2012 with my DM and DD's. DH had not sailed a Radiance class ship before, so I was the "expert" right?

 

Well, ....not exactly. We have been together for more decades than I care to count (remember, way back to grade school) and revealing how many years we've been married may require me to admit that I'm not in my mid to late forties. But over these, lo, many years, like most happily married couples, we have a division of labor...he navigates and I follow...it's just better that way. I write thank you notes and he just nods when people mention they received one...its just better that way.

 

SO if you've been married a while, you probably already know what happens when you try to switch roles. Having been on the ship before we begin our tour with DH deferentially (did I mention he's wonderful and very patient man already?) allows me to navigate. This of course is a complete disaster, because I take us 2 decks out of our way (and back up) to go places and we walk several hundred feet down the hall in wrong direction before it dawns on me we should have gone aft.

 

Meanwhile DH is carrying all his aforementioned camera gear and our two bottles of wine. But nobody loses it at this point either (that's later) but my very patient DH decides, that maybe its best he navigates; even if it means looking at the little info graphic ship before heading down stairs and hallways.

 

This proves to be a very wise idea!

 

 

While touring, we try to get a little business done. We stop at Guest Services and see if we can activate the internet coupons we get for a 1/2 hour each of free internet (this will give us enough time to connect exactly twice during the cruise- so if you have need for more connectivity, buy a good sized package.)

 

 

INTERNET TIPS:

In order to activate the free "coupon" on the seapass, one has to go to one of the computers on board. Everyone has to do this first step; those with coupons will get a certain amount free, if you have no coupons you have the option to purchase a discounted package or just pay ala carte.

 

You swipe your card and follow the instructions on the screen. You can create a user name and password (use one you remember like the one you use at home or write it down). Then you can use your own device to go to "settings" and select Royal Wifi and log in with your new user name and password.

 

Another important thing to do BEFORE you surf is get the "log out.com" ip address. This is very important because unless you log out, the minutes just keep adding up. The log in will ask you if you want to "create a book mark" - this is a good idea, but my device (an ipad) didn't create the book mark during that process and I had to enter it into my browser manually. It's listed on the document below. I would get that document from GS's before you start the process, so you aren't running through the halls with your device still connected to stand in line at GS get the proper log out address. No one I knew actually had THAT happen to them, or at least no one who is willing to admit it:rolleyes:

 

 

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You will notice that there are some "discounted" times to use wifi- generally 7-9 AM and at lunch time. Also, on Jewel you have to access wifi in the wifi areas...the whole ship is not "wired" yet, so you can't use your device in your cabin unless you get lucky and happen to be near a wired area. My understanding is after each ship is re-fitted with the Oasis features that there will be Wifi available in all the cabins.

 

If you don't wish to pay for wifi, you can usually find "free wifi" in port, many cafes and restaurants advertise wifi; I imagine most want you to buy something. The terminal building in Barbados has free wifi. If in doubt follow the crew members carrying their phones or laptops!:D

 

Cell Phone

 

You may find that using your cell phone is a better option for checking in at home or work, especially on an itinerary with so many ports.

 

Most plans require you to make arrangements before you leave to "unlock" your phone service to "roaming" calls. You have to check with your own provider to figure out what roaming charges will be in the countries you plan to visit. But texting is usually more affordable than calls.

 

We have Verizon, and DHs phone is "global" so we were able to access a local network in each port. Calls would have been expensive per minute; but texting was a very reasonable .50 cents to send an outgoing text and only .05 cents to get a reply. So for 55 cents round trip, you can send a message and receive a response. An important tip is to turn off "data roaming" under your settings before you begin texting, so your phone doesn't automatically download data to your email, and other apps, at top prices! :eek:

 

This proved to be the best deal for us...but of course we were limited to being in contact only when we were in port (even if we actually on the ship) This turned out to be far cheaper for us than buying an internet package.

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Loving your review! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this.

We are sailing a BTB on Jewel 12/7 & 12/14. On the second sailing we are celebrating our 30 year anniversary and have friends and family joining us. We plan to renew our vows on our anniversary which is the day we are in Barbados. We are doing our own vow renewal and I figure we can scout ship locations on the first cruise to find the perfect spot. Which nights were the formal nights?

Thanks again!

Karen

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Loving your review! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this.

We are sailing a BTB on Jewel 12/7 & 12/14. On the second sailing we are celebrating our 30 year anniversary and have friends and family joining us. We plan to renew our vows on our anniversary which is the day we are in Barbados. We are doing our own vow renewal and I figure we can scout ship locations on the first cruise to find the perfect spot. Which nights were the formal nights?

Thanks again!

Karen

 

That sounds wonderful Karen!! On our itinerary (sounds like your 2nd week) the formal nights were day 2 (Tortola)and day 5 (Dominica). Barbados is day 6 before the sea day.

I may not get all the Compii (this is how we refer to plural Cruise Compasses;)) posted before you leave...if you want to peek at all of them before you leave, post an email address and I will send them all to you!

 

There were quite a few B2B's when we sailed- especially retirees and younger folks from overseas! You pretty much get the whole Caribbean covered in a B2B with this ship!! I hope you have wonderful anniversary and enjoy your cruises!!

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That sounds wonderful Karen!! On our itinerary (sounds like your 2nd week) the formal nights were day 2 (Tortola)and day 5 (Dominica). Barbados is day 6 before the sea day.

I may not get all the Compii (this is how we refer to plural Cruise Compasses;)) posted before you leave...if you want to peek at all of them before you leave, post an email address and I will send them all to you!

 

There were quite a few B2B's when we sailed- especially retirees and younger folks from overseas! You pretty much get the whole Caribbean covered in a B2B with this ship!! I hope you have wonderful anniversary and enjoy your cruises!!

 

That would be fantastic if you have the time! My email is khank22222@aol.com. Thanks so much!!!! :)

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I am enjoying your review like you have no idea. Those SJ pictures look so inviting, I want to be there so bad already! And we are doing the same route, which seems to be the least popular so there are not a lot of reviews out there. I am just like you, I start planning every clothing item I will bring and start setting up the outfits I will wear way in advance :o

 

Thank you so so much for sharing. this has got to be one of the best reviews I have read!

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Was just thinking yesterday that it'd be nice to see one of your reviews to tide me over til February, and what do ya know, here it is. (Was a big fan of the Good Karma cruise review).

 

Loving the review and pics so far, keep em coming! Looking forward to it, love the Southern itineraries.

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I am enjoying your review like you have no idea. Those SJ pictures look so inviting, I want to be there so bad already! And we are doing the same route, which seems to be the least popular so there are not a lot of reviews out there. I am just like you, I start planning every clothing item I will bring and start setting up the outfits I will wear way in advance :o

 

Thank you so so much for sharing. this has got to be one of the best reviews I have read!

Thanks so much!! and I thought I was the only one who planned outfits like that! You would think I'd have better results for all my efforts:rolleyes:

 

Was just thinking yesterday that it'd be nice to see one of your reviews to tide me over til February, and what do ya know, here it is. (Was a big fan of the Good Karma cruise review).

 

Loving the review and pics so far, keep em coming! Looking forward to it, love the Southern itineraries.

 

Thanks Tyler! Yes, its been 6 months since Allure; we were due!! I'm glad folks find them entertaining, or helpful (or just laughable...either way...its good that it is entertaining!)

Edited by Familygoboston

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Just found your review, seeing that I seem to follow you around on the same cruises a month or two later, I'm glad to find this one.

 

Speaking of jokes, was Helen Hunt with you on this one? ;)

I can't believe I didn't come to pester you in your roll call.

 

Back to reading.

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Hi I am really enjoying your review!! You are an amazing writer and your wonderful sense of humor comes through your writing and really makes me feel like I'm there with you. My husband and myself(from Boston)are cruising the Jewel leaving this Saturday. I am soaking up your every word and loving every bit of it. Your husband and you sound a lot like us in how you handle things and brings a smile to my face as I read. I think we are on the other itinerary. But love hearing about the ship. It sounds like you won't be finished before we leave but, I will enjoy your review until we leave on Saturday(yes we're flying in the day of, they are predicting a light snow early Saturday morning so wish us luck)so please keep it coming. Thank You

 

Rhonda

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This is when I lose it!

 

Then we made our way to the Windjammer. The Cruise Compass stated that it would open at 11:30 AM, but we sat in the front solarium of the WJ till 11:45 AM and waited for it to actually open, (and I did not lose it here either, I was already on Island time!) When the WJ opened I headed into the buffet to get my plate, while DH collected all our belongings and found that nice table inside by the pier. We completely enjoyed our heaping plates of WJ goodies and then went to the self service ice cream stations to get a "twist" and that's when I "lost it"! As I sat down after getting my twist, I realized that I didn't have my purse. I carry a small purse when I travel. I bought it especially for travel, for extra security for important mission critical things we need for travel like passports, and wads of cash. This is what it looks like:

 

1426413_10202534759388063_1759213931_n.jpg

 

here is a description of its many safety features:

*it has a steel cable embedded slash proof strap,

*it has embedded mesh to prevent slashing the body of the purse,

*it features interlocking zippers to prevent pickpockets

*it has turn locks on the clip to prevent unclipping of the purse from the strap

*it has an RFID safe pocket to prevent cyber criminals from hacking passports and credit cards

What it does not have is an antidote to what is surely security "kryptonite"...a dopey blond putting it down and leaving it behind.:rolleyes:

 

So did I lose it? Well, yes, I did kind of lose it. After all, that purse held both our passports (even if I could get back home, I can never replace all those stamps!!!) our credit cards, and of course 1/2 the cash we brought to pay for tips and cash only tours. Yup, I lost it! I went through all the stages,

 

denial- "It must be in the back pack somewhere", unloading the entire contents of my back pack on the WJ floor in front of a bewildered crew.

anger and blame- " why didn't you pick it up when you moved our stuff, DH!" (did I mention, he's a very patient man??)

bargaining- "Even if I left it somewhere, and someone finds it, maybe that someone will at least return the passports??"

(and finally)

acceptance- "it's not here, we had better go report it to Guest Services"

 

 

So we had to abandon the twist ice cream and head to GS's.

 

They of course see me coming, and they know what I will soon learn, no amount of "security" will save you from your own idiocy!

 

Luckily for me, GS had the purse; I had left it on their counter when I walked away - rookie mistake. After signing for it, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and walk away (no, they did not make me sign a statement that said- "I am the moron who walked away without all my most worldly possessions and this cruise line cannot be responsible for whatever stupid thing I will do next", but they could have and I would have signed it, I was that happy to see it!

 

I wish I could say this would be the last time we would "lose it"; but that wouldn't be true either...and of course, DH pointed out after my heart stopped pounding that "this will make your review more interesting" :rolleyes:

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Have you noticed that we haven't even set sail yet?

and, already, DRAMA!

 

 

We celebrated the safe recovery of the purse by going back to the WJ for that ice cream!

 

(This is especially for Curtis-Bionicman97...ice cream artistry photos go way back between us and I hope this one is worthy! I look forward to seeing yours in a review soon!)

153586980.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

While at the WJ, we walked to the aft section to look down to where our aft cabin would be (you cannot see any part of it except the rail from that vantage point) We are aft to aft with Celebrity Summit, and I took a photo- I need to do some research to learn which cabins are back there and how to book those, not only did they have loungers but they had an exercycle, and a hot tub, and a bar!!! These were some cabins!!

 

(Photos of Celebrity Summit- this is from sailaway...Im going to check with DH and see if he has one during the day with a better view of all the amenities!)

153586855.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

We still had an hour or so before cabins opened, so we took a walk around so I could show DH all Jewel has up top- we checked out Seaview cafe, which had a note in the Compass that it was open 11:15 AM, but it was not open when we walked by. We looked down on the pool deck, which was filling up with its fair share of warm cruisers since the day was hot and sunny.

 

(pool area from the Vortex)

153587156.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to the towel station to check out 4 towels and then we went to the solarium till cabins opened at 1PM. Ok, actually we both fell asleep till 1:45 PM, those Solarium chairs are very comfortable.:o

 

(solarium)

153587164.jpg

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Just found your review, seeing that I seem to follow you around on the same cruises a month or two later, I'm glad to find this one.

 

Speaking of jokes, was Helen Hunt with you on this one? ;)

I can't believe I didn't come to pester you in your roll call.

 

Back to reading.

Yeah, Bill, you think I haven't noticed you stalking?!? ;):p JK, actually, I love reading YOUR reviews because its usually after I have sailed and I get to "re-live"; which is the second best reason to read reviews after "to plan".;) I hope you and Mrs OH have a great trip!!:D

 

looking to go on jewel next year or 2015...looking forward to the rest of the review!

 

Such a long wait...but well worth it! Thanks!

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Hi I am really enjoying your review!! You are an amazing writer and your wonderful sense of humor comes through your writing and really makes me feel like I'm there with you. My husband and myself(from Boston)are cruising the Jewel leaving this Saturday. I am soaking up your every word and loving every bit of it. Your husband and you sound a lot like us in how you handle things and brings a smile to my face as I read. I think we are on the other itinerary. But love hearing about the ship. It sounds like you won't be finished before we leave but, I will enjoy your review until we leave on Saturday(yes we're flying in the day of, they are predicting a light snow early Saturday morning so wish us luck)so please keep it coming. Thank You

 

Rhonda

 

Another one leaving Saturday??? Have you met Karen from post 16 yet ? Karen, this is Rhonda from post 24, Rhonda, this is Karen...looks like you guys are sailing together on Saturday, you lucky dogs!! I don't suppose you would want me to email you the compasses too? I'm happy to, if you leave your email.:D

 

Thanks for your kind words...I take after my dad, and we both think we are uproariously funny, and laugh at our own jokes, (like people who don't smell their own stink:rolleyes:) But hey, other people laugh to, possibly at us, but they are laughing...and as Carly, the CD says on Jewel (she really did, I am not making this up) "you should laugh every day!!" And yes, as much as we travel with as much as can go wrong with travel, and with how trivial those problems are in the face of what some people face far more bravely that I ever could- I have to laugh!:D

Edited by Familygoboston

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Can we go to the cabin yet?

 

At 1:45 PM we headed down to our cabin 8168 on the aft and our bags were already sitting in the hall outside of our door.

 

 

 

This cabin was stunning, and we never once made it to the pool or the Solarium again for the rest of the week, because we would just hang out here. I'm still stunned that these cabins cost no more than the standard cabins (and sometimes less, because they are not midship!) Some folks do not like the trek down the hallway, but this is not a problem for us, and being tucked around the corner makes it so very quiet!

 

(cabin interior)

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(veiw out the balcony door)

153587190.jpg

 

 

 

 

This balcony is AWESOME! Two loungers, two chairs, one with a foot rest and one of the puny short tables you get on the older ships. I don't like to be covetous (it's not just that its a sin, but mostly because it just doesn't make you happy, but it's a little hard to be so excited about my awesome balcony when I am looking at Summits butt end and see these! (Hot tubs, exercise bikes, umm, which deck is the loyalty advisor, I need to go book Summit.)

 

(veiw)

153586854.jpg

 

And the oft asked question...what is behind the door/in the empty space on the deck plans in the corner next to 8168?

 

882945_10202527379763577_557868460_o.jpg

 

Just this staircase for crew that we never saw anyone ever use! The other ladder (the official name for ships stairs;)) is located maybe 6 cabins up the hallway and has all the "support" supplies and services the cabin stewards need, such as linen or food carts, elevators for luggage movement etc. Other than an emergency, I can't imagine why anyone would use this ladder, and we never heard any noise from the area.

 

So here's the deal, this really wasn't our cabin! We just borrowed it from CC member Bpark, who has, with his lovely bride, sailed in this cabin on this exact week for the last 2 years. Unfortunately, before he got to re book it for this year, unbeknownst to us that it was his cabin, we booked it! B and B were very gracious about it, but I felt a little guilty being in "their" cabin all week, while they were in another on the aft. Luckily there was a cabin between us so he couldn't rip our eyes out! Ok, I'm kidding, that was a joke, actually, we shared an excursion with them in Barbados and had a wonderful time with them, and thankfully, we are not traveling this same week next year and Bpark wasted no time heading to the LA and booking his cabin again for 2014! Happy sailing in your cabin again, B & B, wish we were going with you again!!

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Familygoboston, LOVE your reviews! Thank you! Were your daughters sad they couldn't go on this one???

 

I am also an aft cabin lover...we had 1400 on freedom class and I was in awe that they were the same price as regular balcony cabins...best kept secret ever!

 

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your trip.

 

Is it me, or is the solarium kind of strange looking? What's with the swiss chalet and golden duck heads??? :confused:

Edited by micmacmissy

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Balcony Photos

 

(Balcony)

153587183.jpg

 

 

 

 

153587185.jpg

 

 

 

 

153587186.jpg

 

 

 

This is what it looks like if you move to the furthest left of the balcony and "peek" around the port side

153587189.jpg

 

This is a good place to discuss...noises and motion (cue scary music...duhn, duhn, duhn!)

 

In my earlier Jewel review I did a whole review about the pros and cons of aft cabins. Its the usual stuff, more movement, less traffic, longer walk, fabulous balcony...blah, blah, blah! I think either you are a fan or not.

 

Because DH is such a shutter bug, this cabin was perfect for us. He had the ability to shoot both straight back and out the port side. As you can see in the photo, you can't see the bow or anything, but you can see what is on that side. In all of our ports, Jewel "pulled" into dock, but did a pivot turn when leaving port, so you will notice that from the stern, that gave us a panoramic view of the port we were leaving at sunset. This made for some great photos and very relaxing afternoons out on the balcony until it got too dark or too close to dinner or both! So thats a pro!

 

As for cons; if you are a light sleeper, you definitely hear more of the "business" of the cruise ship from these rear cabins. I always heard the sounds of thrusters and other clunks before we docked in the AM. If you are super sensitive to this or love to sleep in, you could find it disturbing.

 

We also noticed on rougher nights (we had some high winds) we could hear some sliding into a "clunking" sound; whether this was a loose balcony or closet door somewhere or the stabilizers, I don't know. I am a pretty light sleeper and while I noticed it, I can't say the intermittent sounds kept me from sleeping. That might be partly due to the fact that I am used to cruising on small ships where no cabin is truly free from the noises of the "business" of the ship (tenders, engines, anchors, chains and what not)

 

As far as motion, we noticed a bit more in the aft, but not appreciably more. So if its a rough night and you aren't feeling great, you would not notice a big enough difference between this cabin or a mid ship cabin to make a difference.

 

I will also note that we noticed almost no smokers on the aft balconies for this cruise.

 

There was a lot of furniture on this balcony! and because DH wanted to be able to move around with his camera, we rearranged it so you could easily get in and out of the balcony door and move from right to left without having to crawl over a chair. This configuration worked well for us!

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Your pictures are awesome!!! and your writing is soo enjoyable :)

 

Thanks again for sharing!!

 

Hiram

DH thanks you, Hiram! Just remember bad photos = me, good photos = DH ;)

 

Familygoboston, LOVE your reviews! Thank you! Were your daughters sad they couldn't go on this one???

 

I am also an aft cabin lover...we had 1400 on freedom class and I was in awe that they were the same price as regular balcony cabins...best kept secret ever!

 

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your trip.

 

Is it me, or is the solarium kind of strange looking? What's with the swiss chalet and golden duck heads??? :confused:

 

LOL! I think they were going for a Bali sort of thing...the ducks might have been elephants or "gods"? The weirdest thing that you can't see here is that the fake foliage has turned a strange, otherwordly, not found in nature, not even Bali, bright green, probably from UV exposure. I imagine its one of the things scheduled to be "updated" in the refurb!

 

Ah yes, the girls...sure they were not happy, stuck in school while we cruised :( but we have taken a cruise or trip every year, just us, so they are used to it! Also, we came home told DD2 that she can take her pick for her graduation June 2015 cruise. She's thinking Freedom Class, so I may just look for one of those aft balconies! I think those may be even a little more "sheltered" than the ones on Jewel, which appeals to me, since I find a whole day in the intense sun a little too much!

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:eek::eek: This is great, saving for later.

 

Oh, I do that all the time...wait till it's all written then read it all in one sitting, like bingeing on a box of chocolates!:D

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Some other paperwork we found in our cabin

 

153551196.jpg

 

 

 

153551197.jpg

 

 

 

153551190.jpg

 

 

 

153551192.jpg

 

 

 

153551193.jpg

 

 

(some people like this sort of thing and I may be one of them! :rolleyes:)

 

Next up later today: we are not done "losing it"!

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Still reading, but had to stop by to subscribe and leave a message that I am SO EXCITED to see a review from you on this cruise. Like you, I'm an obsessive and meticulous planner who LOVES detailed reviews!

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OMG! I do this TOO!!!! And I'm a Sox fan!! We really have to meet some day!!:D

 

By the time we leave I have a schedule of what I plan to wear each day (or part of day; DH refers to these as "costume changes") You would think that by having a daily schedule of what to wear that I care deeply about fashion and clothing and how I look (and you would be wrong...just look at the photos to come!) I make a schedule so that I don't have to think again about what to wear and I don't have to carry a thing I won't wear...this frees me to enjoy every minute of my vacation doing what I DO enjoy (which is not trying on shoes!)

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Keep the review coming, Family.

I am scheduled to be on her for new year....

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Me too!! To the outfit planning that is. Know nothing of sport!

 

OMG! I do this TOO!!!! And I'm a Sox fan!! We really have to meet some day!!:D

 

By the time we leave I have a schedule of what I plan to wear each day (or part of day; DH refers to these as "costume changes") You would think that by having a daily schedule of what to wear that I care deeply about fashion and clothing and how I look (and you would be wrong...just look at the photos to come!) I make a schedule so that I don't have to think again about what to wear and I don't have to carry a thing I won't wear...this frees me to enjoy every minute of my vacation doing what I DO enjoy (which is not trying on shoes!)

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